While the opposition parties and the left-liberal journalists go wax lyrical over the supposed rise of Tejaswi Yadav and celebrate the ‘moral victory’, the BJP, on the other hand, has wasted no time and set its eyes on West Bengal. This time around, the road to Kolkata passes through Patna with the BJP well on its way to conquer West Bengal.
The BJP is on a roll after winning Bihar and crucial by-polls
While Tejaswi and his minions continue to whine about the legitimacy of the election as they falsely claim that the election was tampered, BJP has emerged as the strongest party in Bihar. With a whopping strike rate of 66%, up from 33.74%, the party over-performed its ally JD(U) as it won 74 seats.
Bihar is an important state politically, with complex caste equations and a plethora of parties and alliances, the BJP’s good performance in the state is an indication of what’s in store for Bengal.
The election was keenly watched because it was the first election post the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and was seen as a referendum to the Modi government’s handling of the pandemic. Now just in Bihar, the party romped home in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh as it absolutely drubbed the INC and SP. It also surprisingly won the by-election in Dubbaka, thereby building on its strong performance in LS elections in Telangana. It seems that the people have given a big thumbs up to the Modi government’s handling of the pandemic.
TMC is a divided house
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is riddled with internal factions and seems to be grossly under-prepared for next year’s Assembly elections. Recently, senior party leader and state Transport Minister Subhendu Adhikari rebelled as he developed an ideological distance with the party line and even skipped a cabinet meeting held recently at the state secretariat Nabanna.
Adhikari was a key player when TMC won back-to-back elections in Bengal and is a former Lok Sabha MP, he is also a part of the Trinamool’s highest decision-making body, the seven-member steering committee, in-charge of as many as five districts.
Hindustan Times reports that there’s widespread resentment among a section of TMC MLAs as they feel that reigns of the party have been effectively handed over to Prashant Kishor and Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek.
“This is no longer Didi’s party. She is aloof. That is why Didi’s men are no longer required. If you have to stay, you have to be a ‘yes man’ or else, leave,” wrote Mihir Goswami on a long social media post, a senior legislator from Cooch Behar South constituency.
The Owaisi Factor
Little did the Bihar Mahagathbandhan expect a party from Hyderabad to deliver a serious blow to its chances to come back to power in the state. Owaisi’s AIMIM stunned the RJD-INC-Left alliance by winning 5 seats and hurting the alliance in Seemanchal.
AIMIM broke the once impenetrable Muslim-Yadav voter base which used to solidly back the RJD. This has led to the leaders of INC labelling AIMIM as a ‘vote cutter’. Bengal has a significant chunk of seats where the minority community call the shots and rest assured, Owaisi will look to contest the Bengal elections to further expand his party’s base, thereby, taking a share of the minority electorate — Mamata’s biggest constituency.
One of the biggest factors going the BJP’s way is the huge anti-incumbency wave that Mamata is all set to face after 10 years of uninterrupted rule. Bengal has become a hotbed of political violence and the handling of her administration’s handling of the pandemic and Cyclone Amphan is only going to further increase the anti-incumbency sentiment.
The BJP’s spectacular rise in Bengal
Despite Mamata’s best efforts to intimidate the BJP and its leaders out of contesting the Lok Sabha election, the party stunned Mamata and her goons by winning a whopping 18 LS seats out of the 42 seats in Bengal. To put things into perspective, the BJP secured 87 Lakh votes in 2014 LS election which increased to 230 Lakh votes in 2019, thereby registering a 164% growth in LS election votes. If this growth rate holds for the Assembly elections, the BJP may win around 170-180 seats in Assembly Elections, thereby securing a majority.
Next year will be an extremely important politically with the possibility of major churn taking place in the Indian polity with the expected exit of Mamata Banerjee and TMC.